Girlfriend Says Accused Shooter Was at Taco Bell During Murder

The fiance of Roy Couran is speaking out saying officers have arrested the wrong man for the Jan. 25 shooting of Jeffrey Hill.

Nichele Brown is convinced that police have the wrong man locked up for

Brown, 27, is the fiance of Roy "Woody" Couran, who had . She says footage of her and Couran making a Taco Bell run at the time of the killing should clear the 34-year-old father of charges. Couran pled not guilty on March 2. 

Hill, a former star quarterback for , was fatally shot shortly before 1:50 a.m. Jan. 25 during a robbery and was unclear to police if he was being robbed or trying to get help.

Brown approached Patch with her story recently about the case because of several concerns that bothers her when it comes to the case. Couran's on his fourth public defender now handling the case. One defender withdrew because they represent a client in an ongoing felony case that would be implicated by Couran, according to court documents.

The declined comment for this story, and the state's attorney office as well as Couran's defense lawyer Mark Brewer has not returned a phone call requesting comment.

She's done her homework, finding a paper trail to support her fiance's case, including interviews completed by police and other court records.

"The only thing I can do is tell them where we were," Brown said.

The simplest explanation is that Couran wasn't at the scene. They were at the Taco Bell drive-thru at 855 South Tamiami Trail, Brown said.

The two were lying in bed watching TV at their then 13th Street home when a commercial came on and Couran was tempted by the Burrito Box. 

"He said let's try it, and I didn't want to go, but we got up and ended up going anyway, got our food and came back home," Brown said.

A surveillance video from should show their white Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition in the footage, Brown said.

According to police interviews with the Taco Bell store manager Darnell Randolph, a video shows a white Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition that appears to be similar to Couran's, and Randolph could recognize it because he had owned the same model at one time, according to the transcript.

Brown hopes Couran's attoreny will soon have that surveillance tape to show a clear picture of either the license plate of the Explorer or the couple in the car.

Brown had also accurately described the speaking pattern and voice tone of their cashier, according to the transcript.

"Cullen fit the description by Brown and about his voice pattern," the police transcript read, dated Feb. 9.

She even remembers the order — a Burrito Box, a quesadilla with no sour cream, no tomato, no lettuce and extra meat and either a Mountain Dew or Sierra Mist. Couran had paid cash, and Brown hopes that a receipt can be recovered from the store's registers somehow to show that purchase.

They are also waiting to see surveillance footage from security cameras installed in Newtown, Brown said.

Charges Dropped During Detainment

Brown also questions how strong the case is given that during Hill's detainment, two charges were dropped 21 days after his arrest.

An attempted robbery with a firearm charge and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charge were both dropped on Feb. 28, according to court records. Couran still faces the second-degree murder charge and is being held without bond.

All that time, he spent time in jail, she said, and Brown would visit him or talk to him on the phone to help pass the time.

Police had sent out a press release less than 24 hours after meeting where he was being remembered as his family has had long ties to being city employees. For Brown, it seemed to quick and convenient after Commission Willie Charles Shaw announced "justice will prevail" and a suspect was arrested the day after the meeting with the family.

When it came to identifying Couran in a line-up, Brown believes it also gets murky.

The suspect was described as a tall, slender man with a thin/medium build in his 20s to 30s, and is 6 feet to 6 feet, 2 inches tall.

Couran is 6 feet, 1 inch tall, according to police records. To Brown, he's not slender. In pictures she shared with Patch, she points out his biceps and build.

"He doesn't even match the description, why would you even put him in the line-up?" Brown said.

One witnesses selected Couran out of the line-up and a second witness said they were 40 percent sure it was Couran they saw at the scene, according to the probable cause affidavit.

A second suspect was involved, according to the affidavit. That suspect is a black male about 5 feet 7 inches tall and had a stocky build and witnesses say the gun was handed over from the shooter to that suspect, according to the affidavit. 

Prior charges

Brown said the only charge she knew in Couran's pass was for being a sex offender, stemming from him being 15 years old and his girlfriend at the time was 14 years old. She hopes to have that charge cleared off his record as part of the Romeo and Juliet law

Before his arrest, Couran had worked doing lawn care and odd jobs as that charge had thwarted chances for him to gain regular employment.

Couran has faced other serious charges that have been dropped including using false information to obtain a driver's license, perjury, and failure to update a sex offender's address in 2008 and a dropped charged for aggravated battery while being detained or in jail on the previous charges. A battery charged was dropped in 2005.

His guilty charges include two for driving on a suspended license and failure to report or properly register to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for being a sex offender.

Feeling pressured about every action in police interviews, Brown wasn't sure what to make of anything and said she was presented with a recorded police phone call of Couran also revealed him speaking to another woman who wasn't Brown. Brown was disappointed, but despite the cheating, Brown knows Couran can be a lot of things, but a killer isn't one.

"He's a dog, a cheater, an asshole, but he's not a murderer," Brown said.

Katrice brown March 22, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Go find da right person who did this they'll put murder on anybody
Tanya Smith March 22, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Really? Dropping the gun charge? Wasn't this innocent man shot with a gun?!? Is Sarasota Police Deparment really serious, What isthis world coming to?
Denise Couran March 24, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Roy Couran is my nephew by marriage, from the time i meet him he's been nothing but respectful, family oriented,and a big laugh to be around. So i believe in innocent until proven guilty so give the man a reasonable bond and let him get out to prove what's been known all this time, innocent !!
Chele Brown March 24, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Yes, Roy is innocent. I pray that God reveals what's going on in,the "justice system". They have made him to be a monster with no respect for human life,when his only fault was being tall. The real killers are still on the loose and I am in fear for my life.
Marissa Lopez March 24, 2012 at 05:42 PM
How can someone like Roy Couran who has been arrested so many times still be out on the street. Our Justice System really needs to get things in order. This is why innocent people are being killed because people are getting through the system. This is discouraging and Sarasota really needs to get it together.
Chele Brown March 24, 2012 at 06:14 PM
At the age of 15 Roy was convicted of a crime he DID NOT commit and was sentenced to 5 years in prison because the justice system failed him. He is not an angel, but he has NO violent crimes,he is a wonderful father and a wonderful person. He is putting his life together and it has been a struggle. I,am a mother of a young black boy,who will one day become a black man and I refuse to sit back and allow the "justice system" capture my son or anyone else's for that matter. Florida is one,of the top states to have exhonorated people for crimes they did not commit. These are cases where DNA was used to prove the peraon did not commit the crime that they were facing death, or life terms imprisonment. I'm sure this is a harsh reality to face,but Roy is innocent,we will prove it and I pray God uncovers the victims real murderer so that the victim's family may have closure. Judge not that ye may not be judged,for the same measure ye use to judge you shall also be judged by.
winter boston March 24, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Free a INNOCENT man because HE IS NOT A KILLER HE IS NOT KILLER HE IS NOT A killer, regardless what u want him to be, an that he just maybe ,but HE not a killer do your home work people
winter boston March 24, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Tanya Smith March 24, 2012 at 08:59 PM
@ Marissa, "Someone like Roy Couran?" How is he? I am like Roy Couran. Do I deserve to be incarcerated just because of the picture that was painted for you? Would you please let me tell you my story..I'm beggin but I have no voice, I would use my fingers but you would be afraid because you can not see my face you only have what you were told... Is that fair Marissa? Do you know that this case is still being investigated but he is being held regardless that they have NOTHING? Just thought you would like to know before throwing your next stone. May GOD Bless You and I will pray for you as well as "someone like Roy Couran" also that would mean "ME." May God have mercy on us all! Only GOD can judge "Us."
Marissa Lopez March 25, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Roy Couran will pay for his actions one day! One day he like all of us will sit before God and will be held accountable.Than and only than will he truely be punished for his actions!
Chele Brown March 25, 2012 at 02:04 AM
@ Marissa, when we stand before God, he will judge us ALL. I will say, I myself am a rape victim and at the age of 14 years old a part of me died and I will NEVER get that part of me back. I would never stand by someone, let alone fight for that person knowing that they have taken another person's life. If at any point in time that night Roy left my side, even if it were for 20 minutes,I would not speak on if he did, or did not do this. The fact that I know it is not humanly possible for him to be in two places at one time is the reason I can rest assured that God will allow the truth to ring in this case. God is a just God. But let's stick to the facts. Fact one,Roy Couran IS on video at the Taco Bell at the time of the murder,how can we explain that??? Fact two: Roy Couran is NOT on the video from the actual murder. Fact three: it is not possible for Roy Couran to have possibly known and accurately describe the cashier if he had not in fact gone to the Taco Bell. Those are the FACTS that can be proven. I pray God unfolds it all,and when He does, I pray for all those who have wrongly judged Roy Couran.
winter boston March 25, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Oh so that explains why sarasota police department didnt have anything to say when asked
Iloveroy!!! March 26, 2012 at 11:58 PM
We love u wood!,,,,,! And for all that know the MAN knows that he's not that guy. If anything he's a protector and to kill a man for no reason would b out of his character. I know the MAN so for the ones whose going off of what the ppl say get to know the MAN first yourself before believing what somebody else has to say. Im not here to make excuses but if he was that guy then that would b between him and God but He didnt do it so when he does stand before God this wont b one of Many sins Like us all he's accountable for the police know they got the wrong man so free him!!!!
Iloveroy!!! March 27, 2012 at 12:13 AM
We love u roy! And we always will. Ppl all i got to say for the ones that dont know ROY the man get to know him and for all who do know him knows he is NOT THAT GUY!!! My grandma always told us me and him get to know a person first before u believe what someone has to say about them and most important who r we to judge so ppl get facts before u make judgement and think twice about judging cause only GOD has that right and u can believe ROY wont b punished for somebody elses stupidty!!!
justice will"prevail March 27, 2012 at 09:51 AM
kendarius anderson April 05, 2012 at 11:16 PM
man he killed my uncle and i pray that they keep him locked up so he can get sliced and pumped in the but better yet i hope that murderer die yall dont no wat my family going thrugh untill someone shoot the good person that everyone loves in yall family my uncle dont bother people now he really cant roy can go to hell if all my family care he killed jeffery hill and thats the truth
Chele Brown April 06, 2012 at 05:37 PM
ghostthriller April 06, 2012 at 08:45 PM
They have the wrong man once again just like they did (jenkins) in POOH (R.I.P) case.I believe MR. HILL deserve for his killers to be found i think we need to to help them??
ghostthriller April 06, 2012 at 10:32 PM
First off you have my condolences JEFFREY HILL (R.I.P) but how could he when they dont have MR. HILL'S killer his killer is running round here Free if your bout your issues i say lets go get em but like i was saying just like in POOH( R.I.P) case they made the same mistake (jenkins)until eventually they got the right ones (couran) is (jenkins) in this case you can spend your all your energy rappin or goin to get his real killer an i think sarasota police department wrong for making MR.HILL FAMILY BELIEVE THEY GOT HIS KILLER AN THEY DONT: ASK THE POLICE ?ASK THE STREETS ?ASK WHERE IT HAPPENED AT ?
Chele Brown April 10, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Free ROY & find the real killer!!!!
miya williams April 24, 2012 at 12:37 AM
you stfu u fat freak n why people like u still be on internet..THINK AboUT it u dnt have to do ALL this just to proove your right they said they were at TACO bell they have the tape and probably the receipt so why so hard to get and do all this!! so next time you something like this just think before type!!
miya williams April 24, 2012 at 12:39 AM
AND YOU WILL TOO ONLY GOD KNoW THe TRuth So HE WiLL HaNdlE It Soo FurthER a dO Stop posting unnecessary things!!
miya williams April 24, 2012 at 12:46 AM
U ASSHOLE!! U JUst WAiT i HOPe YO ASS GET PUMPED IN THe ASS!! YOU LittLe BItch and anyways!!! Was YOU THeiR ANd He DNT do magic he cant be at 2 places in 1 time n first off how would he know what the cashier look like if he didnt go to taco bell dat night now u needa sit yo lil evil ass somewhere down N get yo factS Right YO LIL FAt OBese titty milk GOat Hyena Lookn ass!! n i understand thAT YOUR FAMILY GOIN THRU ALOT AND JUSTICE HAV NOT BEN SERVED THESE PEOPLE HAV THE WRONG GUY!! SO TWO INNOCENT MEN HAVE TO GET PUT THRU THIS..SMH!!
miya williams April 24, 2012 at 12:49 AM
deena willliams July 12, 2012 at 02:04 AM
i think that both families should right dateline to bring this to the forefront.. only when you bring things like this to the world , will the truth come out....
Chele Brown July 13, 2012 at 01:42 AM
I couldn't agree with you more Deena Williams. That's a GREAT idea. Thank you very much, we do need national attention for the healing of BOTH families. United we stand, divided we fall.


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